Using Vaginal Ring As Birth Control Method. How Effective Is This?
The vaginal ring is a small, plastic ring to be inserted into the vagina. The ring slowly releases two synthetic hormones (oestrogen and progestogen) into the blood. They mimic the natural hormones, oestrogen and progesterone, produced by a woman’s body.
How Does It Work?
The ring works in the same ways as the combined oral contraceptive pill and contraceptive patch and prevents pregnancy by:
• Preventing the release of an egg.
• Making the mucus at the entrance of the womb thicker, hence making it more difficult for the sperm to enter.
• Thinning the womb lining, making it harder for the egg to be implanted.
How Effective Is The Vaginal Ring?
It is over 99% effective if used correctly and according to instructions.
How Do I Use The Vaginal Ring?
The ring is left in your vagina for 21 days. Then, remove it on the same day of the week at around the same time as it was put, and do not use a new ring for 7 days. A new ring is inserted after this ring-free interval, again on the same day of the week at around the same time. Before using the vaginal ring, read the information leaflet that comes with it carefully.
Read the leaflet that comes with it, or consult your doctor or pharmacist if you are unsure on:
• How to insert and remove the ring.
• When to start with the first ring.
• What to do if your ring breaks/comes out by accident.
• What to do if you forget to take the ring out/put a new ring in.
What Are The Advantages Of The Vaginal Ring?
Some advantages of the vaginal ring:
• Each ring provides contraception for 1 month, hence you do not have to think about contraception daily or each time you have sex.
• If you vomit or have diarrhoea, it is still effective.
• In addition to contraception, it might help premenstrual syndrome (PMS), and heavy or painful periods.
• In addition to contraception, it may reduce the risk of ovarian, uterus and colon cancer and the risk of fibroids and ovarian cysts.
What Are The Side Effects?
Temporary side effects include increased vaginal discharge, breast tenderness, headaches, nausea and mood changes. In the initial months, you might notice spotting and bleeding.
Rarely, some users develop a blood clot due to the ring.
Abdominal pain, vaginal infection or irritation, increased vaginal discharge, lower sex drive, and depression are other possible side effects.
Is It Suitable For Me?
The vaginal ring may not be suitable for some women.
Speak to your doctor or pharmacist if you:
• Are ≥35 years old and smoke, or stopped smoking less than a year ago
• Are overweight
• Breastfeed; or
• Have or have had a blood clot in the blood vessel, a heart problem, circulatory problems including high blood pressure, migraine with aura, breast cancer, or diabetes with complications
Important: Inform your doctor or pharmacist of any illness or operations you have had or have or medications that you are taking.
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